Backlinks – the currency of SEO

This article mentions the words authority, credibility,confidence, reputation, etc. I may be inconsistent with my use, but they all refer to the same thing – this abstract currency that flows among sites that link to each other.

When webpage X links to webpage Y, page X gives page Y a fraction of its authority. If page X has too many outgoing links, it will end up with little authority. Similarly, if page Y has few links but receives many links, it will end up with a great deal of authority. Keep this concept in mind when reading this article.

Backlinks are incoming links to a website or web page. Inbound links were originally important (prior to the emergence of search engines) as a primary means of web navigation; today their significance lies in search engine optimization (SEO). The number of backlinks is one indication of the popularity or importance of that website or page (for example, this is used by Google to determine the PageRank of a webpage). Outside of SEO, the backlinks of a webpage may be of significant personal, cultural or semantic interest: they indicate who is paying attention to that page. In basic link terminology, a backlink is any link received by a web node (web page, directory, website, or top level domain) from another web node.[1] Backlinks are also known as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks, and inward links. – Wikipedia

Incoming Links

The value of an incoming link depends on:

  • The content immediately around the link
  • The number of links on the page
  • The content of the linking page
  • The link text or better known as the anchor text
  • The position of the link within the content (header, footer, main body?)
  • How well the content of the linking page compares to that of the target website

If for some reason you are considering paying for incoming links, I strongly recommend you consider all the points above before reaching for your wallet.

Incoming links generally cannot damage your rankings. Search Engines understand you can’t control who links to your website so you will not be penalized if you receive links from bad neighborhoods. They will simply be of no benefit to you. The only problem is when you decide to link to a bad neighborhood.

External Links

External links are an important aspect of quality content. It’s always good to offer a few links to related quality content. But beware of whom you link to. Incoming links cannot damage your reputation, but an outbound link to a bad neighbourhood can very much do so.

A link is a ‘vote of confidence’ to the page you’re linking to and you definitely do not want to give your precious votes to poor quality websites – quite simply – it makes you look bad.

Reciprocal Links

I am very sceptical when it comes to reciprocal links. One true, sincere incoming link is much more valuable than a thousand reciprocal links. If you read the “Incoming Links” section above you’ll understand, but here’s why:

Reciprocal links

  • Link is usually on a page with poor or no content
  • Links are normally considered poor quality because the content surrounding the link is unrelated
  • Content of linking page is almost always unrelated
  • Linking pages normally have dozens if not hundreds of external links
  • Link pages normally have low PR because of the number of outgoing links

So basically, reciprocal links give you a tiny share of something that isn’t worth much in the first place. One-Way links on the other hand…

One – Way Links

  • Link is on a page of quality content
  • Content is related to the link
  • Content of linking page is related to your website
  • Linking page with have a minimal amount of outgoing links, usually just yours.
  • Article pages can only improve their PRs because they get traffic, they get bookmarked and linked to by people (used as reference).

So basically, you get a big share of something that’s very valuable will only get better! It doesn’t take a seasoned SEO to identify which is a better choice.

Quality one-way links are a win-win situation.